(CNN) - A new poll indicates that Sen. Patty Murray of Washington leads her Republican challenger Dino Rossi by nine points.
According to CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday, 53 percent of likely voters in Washington State back the three term senator, with 44 percent supporting Rossi, who was the GOP gubernatorial nominee in 2004 and 2008.
While the poll indicates that the two candidates are splitting the independent vote, Murray holds an overwhelming lead among members of her own party -Democrats– who outnumber Republicans in the state.
"The state of Washington has been considered pretty blue in recent elections and Murray is capitalizing on that. She is winning support from 95 percent of self-identified Democrats," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "And 93 percent of Republicans support Rossi, showing how polarized the electorate is - a consequence of the two extremely close gubernatorial races that Rossi ran in 2004 and 2008."
Murray has been able to pad her lead with a two-to-one advantage in King County, home to Seattle and a large chunk of the Democratic voters in the state.
"Murray wins 66 percent in King County and has a five-point edge in the suburbs and exurbs that spread north and south from Seattle along the shores of Puget Sound," Holland notes. "Rossi has a 20-point lead in the rest of the state."
The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 10-14, with 906 likely votes questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report